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DISCLAIMER: It is not my goal to remove her pets or to find help here on how to achieve that. I am simply interested in exploring the Interpersonal aspects of this issue.

I am living in a shared house with other five people. One of my flatmates has eight pet rats in her room for three months now. In the beginning only one or two people were aware of the rats. In the past few weeks, we all became aware that she has rats as pets. In the past few days, we (except her) have been talking to each other about her having rats.

While talking with each other we all agreed that we all feel really disgusted and uncomfortable by that. This feeling was elevated when one guy showed us instagram videos showing her rats being free in the shared bathrooms, with one licking the tab for example, a photo showing one rat being inside a cup from the shared kitchen and he also told us that he saw her once coming to the kitchen area with one rat with her. All these things, plus that we are not aware of the quality of the hygiene she exercises to her pets, made us feel even more disgusted and uncomfortable.

Few days ago, We had a meeting all together and we expressed our concerns to her and she understood and agreed to our requests including keeping the rats in her in room at all times. After a couple of days though, me and the other flatmates talked again and agreed that we do not feel comfortable with any rats in the house at all.

Generally, me and another flatmate occasionally spend time with her and we have almost become friends. Therefore, we want to avoid any kind of fight or conflict. According to my contract and the rest of my flatmates contract, no pets are allowed, but since some comments suggest that this might refer only to cats/dogs we will be asking the landlord for details.

Supposingly the landlord does not allow rats as pets, how to tell her to permanently remove all her rats, without resulting in conflict and her being kicked out?

The part of removing the rats is tricky, since she can agree to remove them but fail to do so.

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    helloworld and @AlinaCretu I added in a line indicating that there was a previous conversation and the outcome. I think it's very relevant that you've already (and recently) talked to her about her pets and she had agreed to your requests, as this will almost certainly affect how she receives a second conversation about it. – Em C Jan 30 '18 at 14:53
  • @cHao 8 rats is quite different than a fish in a bowl and definitely falls into the 'having pets' category. She needs to wash the rats equipment and probably wash the rats themselves in our bathrooms and --simply put-- we are really disgusted by that AND since the contract states no pets, we need to sort this out! I think the situation is quite clear. – Nikiforos Jan 30 '18 at 15:34
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    @helloworld The contract states no pets but we are still asking you if you have spoken to your landlord on if that means no cats/dogs or if that means all non-human creatures. This is important to know because if so, you can approach this about your contract. Otherwise, you're just using the contract to fuel your personal motives (regardless of how agreeable they are) and these both have different answers. – Jess K. Jan 30 '18 at 16:16
  • @JessK. We have not contacted the landlord yet regarding which animals are regarded as pets and which are not, but you are right, we are thinking of doing this before talking to her again. I assumed that 8 rats are considered to be 'pet'. Maybe I will edit/post new question once I know exactly what the contract means by the word 'pet'. – Nikiforos Jan 30 '18 at 16:23
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    Please stop arguing about whether the OP should be asking this or not or whether rats are clean or not. We are not here to judge. We require that users here respect the OP's reqest. Please end the debate about these issues and focus on helping the OP convey their request to their room mate. – Catija Jan 30 '18 at 17:01
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Answer: I'm assuming from the tone of the question and the comments that you don't like the rats and that your dislike of the rats is the core reason why you don't want them in your apartment.

For my part I don't blame you, rodents are gross. From your question it sounds like the pet clause in the contract is just something you are using to justify feelings that you already have. It's usually more helpful to focus on the core of the issue. That you don't like xyz about having the rats around.

The big problem you're going to run into when talking to your roommate is that you and your other roommates tacitly already agreed that she could keep the rats by not objecting when she "agreed to our requests including keeping the rats in her room at all times". Changing your mind now and asking her to get rid of her rats is going to be viewed by her as you breaking your word.

The best way to handle this is to be open (and polite) about how you feel. And own up to your own behavior. You can own up to your own behavior by telling her that you made a mistake. So you could say something like this:

I'm so sorry I know we already had an agreement about your rats, I just didn't realize that I would be unable to handle xyz.

xyz should be something specific that you find hard to handle about the rats. ie. smell, seeing the rat poop in your common areas (bathroom, etc.), not being able to sleep at night knowing there are 8 rats next door. Whatever it may be, it should be a specific and real concern that you have.

  1. By apologizing for not being able to keep your agreement, you are more likely to diffuse any hard feelings (on both sides of the agreement).

  2. By phrasing this as a problem you have handling the rats you avoid attacking her and making her get defensive, which usually leads to arguments.

Personal advice: Try to keep yourself open for solutions other than "the rats must go." The example text above is designed to promote a conversation about a specific problem. If you remain open to new solutions you may very well find a way that she can keep the rats with minimal discomfort to yourself.

Be forewarned that she most likely loves these rats. People don't part with things they love easily (if at all). If you push for removal of the rats, there will be hard feelings.

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Figure out what your exact problem is with the rats

You've had the rats in your flat for three months already, so that sounds like you were okay with them for a while. If you didn't want rats in your house, this should've been something you and your other flatmates discussed before she bought them, not three months later.

If your problem has to do with the rats' cleanliness, then that's out of scope for this stack exchange. Try asking a question about that over at Pets.SE. But from your comments and previous edits, your housemate is taking care of them in a way that should prevent any health concerns. Try asking her to teach you more about them -- rats have a bad public image but they can make great pets.

If your issue is because of the wording on your contract, then...

Speak to your landlord

This really should've been brought up with your landlord before your flatmate even got the pets. Right now you're in a bad position, but it is better that the landlord finds out now, with you being honest (albeit late), instead of them finding out later, discovering that you've been lying to them.

That being said, it might go ok. They'll probably be annoyed that you didn't bring it up earlier, but when apartment contracts say "no pets", what that means varies on the landlord in question. Usually it just means no cats or dogs -- animals that can shed fur everywhere and create noise and mess. I currently live in a UK flat like you do, but even though my contract says that pets aren't allowed, my landlord is fine with my snake because of how unobtrusive it is.

Ultimately the only two people who can "get rid of" the rats are either your flatmate or your landlord. If your landlord has no problem with it, and your flatmate is already doing her best to keep them clean and out of your way, then there's not much else you can really do. At least rats usually only live for a couple years!

  • See my question edits – Nikiforos Jan 30 '18 at 17:13
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Supposingly the landlord does not allow rats as pets, how to tell her to permanently remove all her rats, without resulting in conflict and her being kicked out?

You can't. Period.

To her, the rats are not just rats, they're her pets. Quite possibly, she values them more than she values her friendship with you. You can ask her to get rid of them, but she'll either refuse, or do it under pressure and hate you for the rest of the short time she'll be willing to remain your roommate.

She's had them for three months now without problems, and you're turning it into a problem, and possibly threatening to rat her out to the landlord. You're going to come across as the antagonist in this situation to her, as somebody who wants to take her pets away. It doesn't matter how attached she is to the rats, you agreed with her that she can keep them in her room, and now you want her to get rid of them anyway, but "without conflict". That's just not going to work.

If you want her to remain your roommate without conflict, you'll need to find a way to live with the rats.

Tip: Pet rats are not scary. They don't carry diseases, you are very unlikely to get sick from them walking around in your house. Ask your roommate for the proper way to handle them and you'll not only be better friends, you might get over your irrational disgust of pet rats.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – HDE 226868 Feb 2 '18 at 1:17

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